Lately, I’ve started eating almost only sourdough bread after reading some articles about the benefits of a true sourdough (see this article). So I’ve been making sourdough pretty much twice a month since I got my Oregon trail starter in the fall of last year. I’ve had success with a ciabatta recipe and some quicker, yeast-assisted recipes, but hadn’t found a really great basic loaf recipe yet that relied on just the starter to rise the bread.
Thanks to a new recipe with great instructions, I have finally produced not one, but two bakery-quality sourdough loaves.
These are, by far, the best sourdough loaves I have ever made. The resulting bread has a pleasantly sour flavour due to its overnight proof. I’ve tried three-day sourdoughs of the kneadless variety before and found they sometimes soured too much and I often had trouble with them being too dense. This isn’t a kneadless bread, although the kneading is short (and I kneaded the easy way with my Kitchen Aid).
I suspect that the baking method had a lot to do with the texture of the loaf. As suggested by the recipe, I used a baking stone and cover to create a little mini steam oven inside the oven. Once the loaf is on the stone, the top is sprayed with water and then a lid is placed over the entire loaf (I used my stock pot). After baking for about 20 minutes, the lid is removed so the loaf can finish baking and brown on top. The texture of the bread is fantastic: a bit chewy, but still light and fluffy.
Finally, a sourdough that tastes as good as any I’ve had in a bakery, and I know it’s real sourdough (many commercial bakeries just add an artificial sour flavour to simulate sourdough).
I’m looking forward to tomato bisque and fresh sourdough for supper tonight — just what I want on a rainy day.